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Cathos and Vacros

by Marco Dalmonte English translation by Gary Davies

Asterius - Trade, wealth, guile, social climbing, communication, travel, merchants, thieves, messengers
Protius - Oceans and marine creatures, water, capriciousness, travel
Khoronus - Knowledge, history, philosophy, good government, patience, diplomacy
1. The islands of Vacros and Cathos are found to the west of the Pearl Islands and to the east of the north-eastern Davanian. They were colonised by a group of Traldar during their migration towards in 999 BC. Followed by the behemoth, a part of the fleet of Milen was separated from the rest of the expedition and ended up by landing on the two islands situated between the Davanian coast and the Pearl Islands (at that time only just discovered by the Tanagoro). The expedition of Milen went up the course of the first river it found, wedging themselves in the Davanian hinterland and lost contact with the other dispersed, which they believed had been separated by the monstrous marine beings. In the course of the following centuries there were weak attempts to regain the sea, but the behemoth continued to frustrate the Milenians, who thus remained stuck in Davania. The Traldar of Vacros and Cathos instead were able to establish contact between them and with the nearby Tanagoro colonies, starting a profitable trade that based on the judgement that they no longer appeared to be oppressed by the behemoth, which limited its incursions only to the stretch of the sea near to Davania. Therefore Vacros and Cathos grew in commercial power, managing to trade also with the Nithian colonies in Ochalea. Later on, when Nithia was destroyed and the behemoth no longer appeared, towards the V century BC Vacros was able to contact the Milenians and it was proposed as the only outlet to the western markets. This had enormously enhanced its power and wealth so much that in 200 BC Cathos was annexed by the new-born Kingdom of Vacros when the Vacrosian sovereign was able to marry the daughter of the prince of Cathos. In 100 BC were always the Vacrosians to ferry a group of Milenian exiles towards the far-off Minaea, and thanks to these new colonies contributed to establish a new trade route. Following the fall of Milenia they had lost a great part of their entrances, and the rise of the Guilds of Minrothad in maritime commerce started to slowly erode the trade routes of the Vacrosians. It was really in this period, in the II century AC, that the cult of Kiranjo took root among those merchants without scruples, which imported it from Minaea and led the way to the emergence of the piracy. In the V century AC it was a priest of Kiranjo that became sovereign of Vacros, and from that moment the kingdom began to import minotaurs from the far-off land and to always have a more aggressive conduct towards its commercial partners, arrived to organise true acts of piracy and squadrons of corsairs against those that didnít submit to the conditions proposed by the kingdom. It was only in 600 AC that finally, sick of the abuses of power and of the gossip regarding brutal practices committed by the Vacrosians, the Cathosian subjects were able to recruit enough supporters among the Nuari and the Ochalese to organise an armed expedition guided by Lady Durnsay, princess of Cathos destined to be married to the Great Priest Kandros (a minotaur devoted to Kiranjo). The invasion had success and the Vacrosian army, without the support of the blocked fleet by the Nuari, was swept away. The minotaurs were largely exterminated (and among these Kandros, who died in the labyrinth under the temple of Kiranjo), and the superstitious fled via the sea together with the humans, dispersing to the four winds. So the Kingdom of Vacros was removed from the maps of Cathos, which gained independence and took the position left vacant by Vacros in the international trade scene. The last descendent of the ancient Vacrosian rulers, a human mage called Oltham, has in fact recently returned to the island in order to restore the cult of Kiranjo.
2. Vacros is a rather large island, mountainous and of volcanic origin. The mountains (several mountainous peaks rich with obsidian and raw gems) are concentrated at the centre of the island, while a series of hills all occupy the north side. On this side has been built the city of Vacros, with its port and its great still standing lighthouse, while other structures are found in the interior of the island. The jungle covers the entire island and the ruins of the city, changing to a very arid land, of volcanic origin. On the island of Vacros also exists an oracle of Kiranjo. The oracle is made up of three slabs of stone, on which are found three empty containers. Once a week a priest of sufficiently high level can question an oracle to the Immortal by placing the demand before the three slabs and fill the three containers respectively with food, raw gems and with a large fragment of valuable looking obsidian. The answer arrives the next morning: during the night four pocket dragon servants of Kiranjo carry away or spill the contents of one or more pots. Based on which containers are empty or over-turned, the priest can decipher the reply of the Immortal. If in the morning all three containers are empty, the sign is commonly interpreted as the imminence of a grave calamity. The four pocket dragons live in the jungle in the pressi of the ancient destroyed temple of the capital of Vacros, and tend to remain hidden. No one knows where they take their treasure.
3. The island of Cathos is situated to the north-west of Vacros, and is currently ruled by the king Trueon. The capital is a coastal city that gave its name to the kingdom and the island hosts at least one other coastal settlement. The pantheon listed above shows the Immortals worshipped by the Cathosians (heritage of the Traldar), as Vacros is at the moment semi-deserted (even if the few beings that dwell there in secret worship Kiranjo). The Cathosians all honour Asterius, patron of trade, travel and wealth, the fundamentals on which Cathosian society is based. Immediately after is the cult of Protius, Immortal of the sea and protector of sailors, to whom is made an offering by any shipís captain before he sails. Khoronus instead is revered by the noble class, diplomats and by the men of science and culture, and its place at the basis of the authority of which are invested the rulers as chosen by Khoronus for their wisdom.